Buzz

Transportation

That light at the end of the tunnel might be Seattle monorail proponents trying to find their way now that Monorail Recall has turned in 22,300 names backing their revote measure. Initiative 83, which would give Seattle voters the option to kill the plan by denying monorail use of city rights of way, needs just more than 17,000 qualified signatures (typically, about 25 percent are found to be invalid). With plans to add more than 1,000 this week, Monorail Recall's measure is likely to be on the November ballot—unless the Seattle Monorail Project prevails in either of two legal challenges. Elated recallers say the drive picked up steam in recent weeks as paid and volunteer solicitors gathered more than 5,000 names in hopes of forcing a fourth citywide monorail vote—albeit the "opportunity to vote for the first time on the [revised] monorail plan of today," says recall leader Tim Wulf. RICK ANDERSON

For many Eastsiders, taking the bus into Seattle has always been a feat for only the most determined. Suburban Metro Transit service doesn't extend to many neighborhoods, so would-be riders must drive to park-and-ride lots to catch a bus. The difficulty doesn't end there. According to a Metro survey, many of the Eastside park-and-rides fill up quickly; some have several cars parked illegally. Riders often drive to multiple lots every morning in search of a parking spot and might never find one if they don't arrive early enough. Metro recently opened a new 1,646-space garage in the Eastgate area and has similar plans for the Issaquah Highlands and Mercer Island. The Eastgate garage is expected to take pressure off crowded lots in Newport, South Bellevue, and Issaquah, as will the eventual Issaquah Highlands and Mercer Island garages. For the northern Eastside, though, including the north end of Bellevue and Kirkland, which are among the most problematic areas, parking expansion is being discussed only for the South Kirkland lot, and even that is merely an idea at this point. MELISSA OVERBECK

Politics

President Bush delighted the Republican crowd at a George Nethercutt rally in Spokane last month when he pointed out, "There are a lot of reasons to be for George, but the best is the fact that he married well. [Laughter.] Like me, he married above himself. [Laughter.]" Nethercutt, hoping to unseat Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, liked the line so much he posted it along with a photo of Bush, himself, and wife Mary Beth on his Web site. The Bush campaign press corps, meanwhile, writhed. How many times had they heard that erstwhile joke? Dubya's been using "Like me, he . . . " on the campaign trail for years. Some say it dates back to his Texas gubernatorial days. A likely incomplete list on Catch.com cites 16 similar utterances, starting in Tennessee on Feb. 21, 2001: "I also want to thank my friend, the governor of your state, Don Sundquist. He is a good man, and he married [almost forgets setup]—like me—he married above himself." Bush kidded pols Lamar Alexander, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Dennis Hastert and comedian Dennis Miller with slight variations. At least on June 17 Nethercutt could say he was the most recent honoree. Alas, four days later, Bush used the line on Ohio governor Bob Taft. People are bound to get suspicious, though. You mean no Republican has ever married down? RICK ANDERSON

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